Student Of The Year? Seriously??

So let’s get a couple of things cleared right away. Of course the sets are ridiculously grandiose, nobody went to a school or college (it was not easy to figure out which one was being shown) that looks like that. Most of Delhi goes to DU!

Next, and I carry forward with my theory that they were all school kids, nobody looks like a high-end model, male or female, in high school –Siddharth Malhotra actually looks closer to my thirty year old cousin.

All you pseudo-feminists out there, yes, Alia Bhatt does in fact participate in the “Student Of The Year Competition”, but withdraws from the race in the end. Yes, even though Rishi Kapoor was dolled up as an Indian version of Masterchef Australia host, Gary Mehigan, he was also the campiest image of homosexuality. Considering the fact that I know a few gay and lesbian people myself, my critique of Karan Johar’s (Let’s not go to the whole question of his sexuality!) treatment of the character is, at best, an embittered rant. It was just done in really bad taste.

Now let’s get to the actual storyline, if we wish to call it so, I promise you a version different from the Wikipedia version, because really that’s just a blow-by-blow. So, the plot revolves around this absolutely fabulous looking school, with its desi Gossip Girl touches (really didn’t work), and the popular kids. However, the actual flashback is seen from the eyes of the not-so-popular ones, so they’re never really a part of the background.

Now just like Gossip Girl, we’ve got Alia Bhatt as Miss Blair Waldorf –for context watch that song with all the brands in it –and Varun Dhawan as Nate Archibald –“Rohan kitna cool hai na?!”.

We’ve got the flowery dean Yoginder Vashisht (Rishi Kapoor) lusting after the resident football coach, a forty-something Ronit Roy, throwing around dialogues like, “You’ve got me all wet.” That made me choke on my popcorn.

So anyway, that’s the general set-up into which enters the me-too-cool-for-school boy, Siddharth Malhotra (Abhimanyu Singh). Now, he plays the role of the Indian Dan Humphrey –not even half as charming as the original character –who shakes up the entire system that’s going on at St. Teresa’s.

Rohan and Abhimanyu really can’t stand each other, well mainly because Abhimanyu acts like a punk, for reasons undisclosed. Now, just as magically as Saif Ali Khan fell in love with Diana Penty over the length of one song in Cocktail, Rohan and Abhimanyu become friends. No no, best friends.

Throw in a couple of songs, and we see Dan fall for Blair; and of course, Blair has no idea that she too is falling for him. So while she’s dancing with the two nipple-showing boys –I still don’t get why Karan Johar made them leave their sherwanis unbuttoned till the navel –Abhi falls head over heels and Shanaya (Alia) plays along to get Rohan jealous.

Rohan is actually quite flirty with the worst excuse of a Serena Vander Woodsen KJo could have created –it’s that girl who played Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

Throw in a few more songs if you please, add in a forbidden kiss, where the actors were so uncomfortable I wanted to rip my eyeballs out –the man behind me shouted, “Bohot galt hai” (“This is very wrong!”). Oh, and make sure the male leads show off some more of their body, add in some sweat and a really weird sequence of them emerging from a swimming pool in barely-there underwear. Strange.

Well, as you can imagine, Abhi macking on his girl, sends Rohan off his rocker and there’s an elaborate fighting sequence that goes on, which is where Alia Bhatt –who has previously only entered the frame five minutes before and after every song (not much for a girl to do in a KJo film eh?) –decides that she doesn’t want to be with either of them. There’s some dialogue along the stereotypical lines of, I am not yours to possess and pass on to each other. Sigh.

The final round of the “Student Of The Year Competition” is when everyone’s wondering who wins, but of course that’s a surprise (yawn) I won’t ruin for anyone still eager to go watch the movie. And so, we come full circle to the whole ten-twenty-years later crap, where everyone has changed and they are reunited at the deathbed of their beloved dean –the coach comes along as well. Of course it’s dragged and stretched to the perfect Karan Johar amount, when Abhimanyu, Rohan and Alia get together, the boys break into another fistfight –they’re about thirty then I guess. Well, they looked like they were in their thirties.

Okay, summing up, there are a few good things to watch out for. The music is brilliant; it’s catchy and tends to remain with you.

Wildly grand locations aside, the story is decent and definitely worth a watch. The acting and dancing talent –Siddharth Malhotra had me in splits in his emotional scene with Farida Jalal, but Varun Dhawan’s dancing was amazing. The ladies are going to love the shoes and clothes and those hot boys, the guys can ogle at… Kajol in her special appearance!

Rohan Dahiya

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